Microsoft Word is Microsoft's word processing software. It was first released in 1983
under the name Multi-Tool Word for Xenix systems. Versions were later written
for several other platforms including IBM PCs running DOS (1983), the Apple
Macintosh (1984), SCO UNIX, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows (1989). It is a component
of the Microsoft Office system; however, it is also sold as a standalone product and
included in Microsoft Works Suite. Beginning with the 2003 version, the branding was
revised to emphasize Word's identity as a component within the Office suite; Microsoft
began calling it Microsoft Office Word instead of merely Microsoft Word. The latest
releases are Word 2007 for Windows and Word 2008 for Mac OS X. There are
commercially available add-ins that expand the functionality of Microsoft Word.
 Word 1981 to 1989
Concepts and ideas of Word were brought from Bravo, the original GUI word processor
developed at Xerox PARC. On February 1, 1983, development on what was
originally named Multi-Tool Word began.
Richard Brodie renamed it Microsoft Word, and Microsoft released the program October
25, 1983, for the IBM PC. Free demonstration copies of the application were bundled
with the November 1983 issue of PC World, making it the first program to be distributed
on-disk with a magazine. However, it was not well received, and sales lagged behind
those of rival products such as WordPerfect. Although MS-DOS was a
character-based system, Microsoft Word was the first word processor for the IBM PC
that showed actual line breaks and typeface markups such as bold and italics directly on
the screen while editing, although this was not a true WYSIWYG system because
available displays did not have the resolution to show actual typefaces. Other DOS word
processors, such as WordStar and WordPerfect, used simple text only display with
markup codes on the screen or sometimes, at the most, alternative colors.
As with most DOS software, each program had its own, often complicated, set of
commands and nomenclature for performing functions that had to be learned. For
example, in Word for MS-DOS, a file would be saved with the sequence Escape-T-S:
pressing Escape called up the menu box, T accessed the set of options for Transfer and S
was for Save (the only similar interface belonged to Microsoft's own Multiplan
spreadsheet). As most secretaries had learned how to use WordPerfect, companies were
reluctant to switch to a rival product that offered few advantages. Desired features in
Word such as indentation before typing (emulating the F4 feature in WordPerfect), the
ability to block text to copy it before typing, instead of picking up mouse or blocking
after typing, and a reliable way to have macros and other functions always replicate the
same function time after time, were just some of Word's problems for production typing.
Word for Macintosh, despite the major differences in look and feel from the DOS
version, was ported by Ken Shapiro with only minor changes from the DOS source
code, which had been written with high-resolution displays and laser printers
in mind although none were yet available to the general public. Following the precedents
of LisaWrite and MacWrite, Word for Macintosh attempted to add closer WYSIWYG
features into its package. After Word for Mac was released in 1985, it gained wide
There was no Word 2.0 for Macintosh. Instead, the second release of Word for
Macintosh, shipped in 1987, was named Word 3.0; this was Microsoft's first attempt to
synchronize version numbers across platforms. Word 3.0 included numerous internal
enhancements and new features including the first implementation of the Rich Text
Format (RTF) specification, but was plagued with bugs. Within a few months Word 3.0
was superseded by Word 3.01, which was much more stable. All registered users of 3.0
were mailed free copies of 3.01, making this one of Microsoft's most expensive mistakes
up to that time.
 Word 1990 to 1995
Microsoft Word 5.1a (Macintosh)
The first version of Word for Windows was released in 1989 at a price of 500 US
dollars. With the release of Windows 3.0 the following year, sales began to
pick up (Word for Windows 1.0 was designed for use with Windows 3.0, and its
performance was poorer with the versions of Windows available when it was first
released). The failure of WordPerfect to produce a Windows version proved a fatal
mistake. It was version 2.0 of Word, however, that firmly established Microsoft Word as
the market leader.
After MacWrite, Word for Macintosh never had any serious rivals, although programs
such as Nisus Writer provided features such as non-contiguous selection which were not
added until Word 2002 in Office XP. In addition, many users complained that major
updates reliably came more than two years apart, too long for most business users at that
Word 5.1 for the Macintosh, released in 1992, was a very popular word processor due to
its elegance, relative ease of use, and feature set. However, version 6.0 for the Macintosh,
released in 1994, was widely derided, unlike the Windows version. It was the first
version of Word based on a common codebase between the Windows and Mac versions;
many accused it of being slow, clumsy and memory intensive. In response to user
requests, Microsoft offered a free "downgrade" to Word 5.1 for dissatisfied Word 6.0
With the release of Word 6.0 in 1993 Microsoft again attempted to synchronize the
version numbers and coordinate product naming across platforms; this time across the
three versions for DOS, Macintosh, and Windows (where the previous version was Word
for Windows 2.0). There may have also been thought to matching the current version 6.0
of WordPerfect for DOS and Windows, Word's major competitor. However, this wound
up being the last version of Word for DOS. As well, subsequent versions of Word were
no longer referred to by version number, and were instead named after the year of their
release (e.g. Word 95 for Windows, synchronizing its name with Windows 95, and Word
98 for Macintosh), once again breaking the synchronization.
When Microsoft became aware of the Year 2000 problem, it released the entire version of
DOS port of Microsoft Word 5.5 instead of getting people to pay for the update. As of
May 2009, it is still available for download from Microsoft's web site.
Word 6.0 was actually the second attempt to develop a common codebase version of
Word. The first, code-named Pyramid, had been an attempt to completely rewrite the
existing Word product. It was abandoned when it was determined that it would take the
development team too long to rewrite and then catch up with all the new capabilities that
could have been added in the same time without a rewrite. Proponents of Pyramid
claimed it would have been faster, smaller, and more stable than the product that was
eventually released for Macintosh, which was compiled using a beta version of Visual
C++ 2.0 that targets the Macintosh, so many optimizations have to be turned off (the
version 4.2.1 of Office is compiled using the final version), and sometimes use the
Windows API simulation library included. Pyramid would have been truly cross-
platform, with machine-independent application code and a small mediation layer
between the application and the operating system.
More recent versions of Word for Macintosh are no longer ported versions of Word for
Windows although some code is often appropriated from the Windows version for the
Macintosh version.
Later versions of Word have more capabilities than just word processing. The Drawing
tool allows simple desktop publishing operations such as adding graphics to documents.
Collaboration, document comparison, multilingual support, translation and many other
capabilities have been added over the years.
 Word 97
Word 97 had the same general operating performance as later versions such as Word
2000. This was the first copy of Word featuring the Office Assistant, "Clippy," which
was an animated helper used in all Office programs. This was a take over from the earlier
launched concept in Microsoft Bob.
 Word 98
Word 98 for the Macintosh gained many features of Word 97, and was bundled with the
Macintosh Office 98 package. Document compatibility reached parity with Office 97 and
Word on the Mac became a viable business alternative to its Windows counterpart.
Unfortunately, Word on the Mac in this and later releases also became vulnerable to
future Macro viruses that could compromise Word (and Excel) documents, leading to the
only situation where viruses could be cross-platform. A Windows version of this was
only bundled with the Japanese/Korean Microsoft Office 97 Powered By Word 98 and
could not be purchased separately.
 Word 2000
See also: Microsoft Office 2000
A screenshot of Word 2000
For most users, one of the most obvious changes introduced with Word 2000 (and the rest
of the Office 2000 suite) was a clipboard that could hold multiple objects at once.
Another noticeable change was that the Office Assistant, whose frequent unsolicited
appearance in Word 97 had annoyed many users, was changed to be less intrusive.
 Word 2001/Word X
Word 2001 was bundled with the Macintosh Office for that platform, acquiring most, if
not all, of the feature set of Word 2000. Released in October 2000. Word 2001 was also
sold individually apart from the Office suite. The Macintosh version, Word X, released in
2001, was the first version to run natively on (and require) Mac OS X.
 Word 2002/XP
See also: Microsoft Office XP
Word 2002 was bundled with Office XP and was released in 2001. It had many of the
same features as Word 2000 but had a major new feature called the 'Task Panes', which
gave quicker information and control to a lot of features that were only available in
modal dialog boxes before. One of the key advertising strategies for the software was the
removal of the Office Assistant in favor of a new help system, although it was simply
disabled by default.
 Word 2003
See also: Microsoft Office 2003
Office Word 2003
For the 2003 version, the Office programs, including Word, were rebranded to emphasize
the unity of the Office suite, so that Microsoft Word officially became Microsoft Office
 Word 2004
A new Macintosh version of Office was released in May 2004. Substantial cleanup of the
various applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and feature parity with Office 2003 (for
Microsoft Windows) created a very usable release. Microsoft released patches through
the years to eliminate most known Macro vulnerabilities from this version. While Apple
released Pages and the open source community created NeoOffice, Word remains the
most widely used word processor on the Macintosh.
 Word 2007
See also: Microsoft Office 2007
The release includes numerous changes, including a new XML-based file format, a
redesigned interface, an integrated equation editor and bibliographic management.
Additionally, an XML data bag was introduced, accessible via the object model and file
format, called Custom XML - this can be used in conjunction with a new feature called
Content Controls implement structured documents. It also has contextual tabs, which are
functionality specific only to the object with focus, and many other features like Live
Preview (which enables you to view the document without making any permanent
changes), Mini Toolbar, Super-tooltips, Quick Access toolbar, SmartArt, etc.
Word 2007 uses a new file format called docx. Word 2000-2003 users on Windows
systems can install a free add-on called the "Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack" to be
able to open, edit, and save the new Word 2007 files. Alternatively, Word 2007 can
save to the old doc format of Word 97-2003.
 Word 2008
See also: Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
Word 2008 is the most recent version of Microsoft Word for the Mac, released on
January 15, 2008. It includes some new features from Word 2007, such as a ribbon-like
feature that can be used to select page layouts and insert custom diagrams and images.
Word 2008 also features native support for the new Office Open XML format, although
the old .doc format can be set as a default.
 File formats
 File extension
Microsoft Word's native file formats are denoted either by a .doc or .docx file extension.
Although the ".doc" extension has been used in many different versions of Word, it
actually encompasses four distinct file formats:
1. Word for DOS
2. Word for Windows 1 and 2; Word 4 and 5 for Mac
3. Word 6 and Word 95 for Windows; Word 6 for Mac
4. Word 97, 2000, 2002 and 2003 for Windows; Word 98, 2001, X, and 2004 for
The newer ".docx" extension signifies the Office Open XML international standard for
office documents and is used by Word 2007 for Windows, Word 2008 for the Macintosh,
as well as by a growing number of applications from other vendors.
Microsoft does not guarantee the correct display of the document on different
workstations, even if the two workstations use the same version of Microsoft Word.
This means it is possible the document the recipient sees might not be exactly the same as
the document the sender sees.
 Binary formats (Word 97-2003)
As Word became the dominant word processor in the late 1990s and early 2000s,[citation
its default Word document format (.DOC) became a de facto standard of document
file formats for Microsoft Office users. Though usually just referred to as "Word
Document Format", this term refers primarily to the range of formats used by default in
Word version 97-2003.
Word document files using the Word 97-2003 Binary File Format implement OLE
(Object Linking and Embedding) structured storage to manage the structure of its file
format. OLE behaves rather like a conventional hard drive file system, and is made up of
several key components. Each word document is composed of so-called "big blocks"
which are almost always (but do not have to be) 512-byte chunks; hence a Word
document's file size will in most cases be a multiple of 512.
"Storages" are analogues of the directory on a disk drive, and point to other storages or
"streams" which are similar to files on a disk. The text in a Word document is always
contained in the "WordDocument" stream. The first big block in a Word document,
known as the "header" block, provides important information as to the location of the
major data structures in the document. "Property storages" provide metadata about the
storages and streams in a .doc file, such as where it begins and its name and so forth. The
"File information block" contains information about where the text in a word document
starts, ends, what version of Word created the document, and other attributes.
 Microsoft Office Open XML (Word 2007 and above)
Word 2007 uses Office Open XML (DOCX) as its default format, but retains the older
binary format for compatibility reasons. Office Open XML used in Word 2007 is not
identical to approved ISO/IEC 29500:2008 Office Open XML because of changes in
format specification during standardization process. Microsoft has declared that Office
Open XML is already partially supported in Office 2007, but the company plans to
update that support to full ISO standard in the next major version release of the Microsoft
Office system, named "Microsoft Office 2010".
Microsoft has published specifications for the Word 97-2007 Binary File Format and
the Office Open XML format. Microsoft has moved towards an XML-based file
format for their office applications with Office 2007: Office Open XML. This format
does not conform fully to standard XML. It is, however, publicly documented
as Ecma International standard 376. Public documentation of the default file format is a
first for Word, and makes it considerably easier, though not trivial, for competitors to
interoperate. During standardization process of Office Open XML was specification of
this format changed after submitting some of proposed changes from ISO
members.[clarification needed What??] It's been approved as an international standard by ISO
(ISO/IEC 29500:2008), but the approval is under review following objections by ISO
members South Africa, Brazil, India and Venezuela. Another XML-based, public file
format supported by Word 2003 and upwards is the Microsoft Office Word 2003 XML
 Attempts at cross-version compatibility
Opening a Word Document file in a version of Word other than the one with which it was
created can cause incorrect display of the document. The document formats of the various
versions change in subtle and not so subtle ways; formatting created in newer versions
does not always survive when viewed in older versions of the program, nearly always
because that capability does not exist in the previous version. Rich Text Format (RTF),
an early effort to create a format for interchanging formatted text between applications, is
an optional format for Word that retains most formatting and all content of the original
document. Later, after HTML appeared, Word supported an HTML derivative as an
additional full-fidelity roundtrip format similar to RTF, with the additional capability that
the file could be viewed in a web browser.
 Third party formats
It is possible to write plugins permitting Word to read and write formats it does not
natively support, such as international standard OpenDocument format (ODF), ISO/IEC
26300:2006. Up until the release of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office 2007, Word did not
natively support reading or writing ODF documents without a plugin - SUN ODF Plugin
or OpenXML/ODF Translator. With SP2 installed, ODF format 1.1 documents can be
read and saved like any other supported format in addition to those already available in
Word 2007. 
In October 2005, one year before the Microsoft Office 2007 suite was released, Microsoft
declared, that there is not sufficient demand from Microsoft customers for international
standard OpenDocument format support and therefore it will not be included in Microsoft
Office 2007. This statement was repeated also in next months. As an answer,
on October 20, 2005 an online petition was created to demand ODF support from
Microsoft. The petition was signed by cca 12000 people.
In May 2006, ODF plugin for Microsoft Office was released by OpenDocument
Foundation. Microsoft declared, that the company did not work with the developers of
In July 2006 Microsoft announced the creation of the Open XML Translator project -
tools to build a technical bridge between the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats and
the OpenDocument Format (ODF). This work was started in response to government
requests for interoperability with ODF. The goal of project is not to implement ODF
direct to Microsoft Office, but only to create plugin and external tools. In February
2007, this project released first version of ODF plug-in for Microsoft Word.
In February 2007 SUN released initial version of SUN ODF plugin for Microsoft
Office. Version 1.0 was released in July 2007.
Word 2007 (Service pack 1) supports (for output only) PDF and XPS format, but only
after manual installation of Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS Add-in. However the
implementation faces substantial criticism and the ODF Alliance and others have claimed
that the third party plugins provide better support. 
With OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office  developed with support from
Microsoft it also supports import and export of ODF.
 Features and flaws
Word has a built-in spell checker, thesaurus, dictionary, Office Assistant and utilities for
transferring, copy, pasting and editing text, such as PureText.
Normal.dot is the master template from which all Word documents are created. It is one
of the most important files in Microsoft Word. It determines the margin defaults as well
as the layout of the text and font defaults. Although normal.dot is already set with certain
defaults, the user can change normal.dot to new defaults. This will change other
documents that were created using the template and saved with the option to
automatically update the formatting styles.
Like other Microsoft Office documents, Word files can include advanced macros and
even embedded programs. The language was originally WordBasic, but changed to
Visual Basic for Applications as of Word 97.
This extensive functionality can also be used to run and propagate viruses in documents.
The tendency for people to exchange Word documents via email, USB key, and floppy
makes this an especially attractive vector. A prominent example is the Melissa worm, but
countless others have existed in the wild. Some anti-virus software can detect and clean
common macro viruses, and firewalls may prevent worms from transmitting themselves
to other systems.
These Macro viruses are the only known cross-platform threats between Windows and
Macintosh computers and they were the only infection vectors to affect any Mac OS X
system up until the advent of video codec trojans in 2007. Microsoft's released patches
for Word X and Word 2004 effectively eliminated the Macro problem on the Mac by
Word's macro security setting, which regulates when macros may execute, can be
adjusted by the user, but in the most recent versions of Word, is set to HIGH by default,
generally reducing the risk from macro-based viruses, which have become uncommon.
 Layout issues
As of Word 2007 for Windows (and Word 2004 for Macintosh), the program has been
unable to handle ligatures defined in TrueType fonts: those ligature glyphs with Unicode
codepoints may be inserted manually, but are not recognized by Word for what they are,
breaking spellchecking, while custom ligatures present in the font are not accessible at
all. Other layout deficiencies of Word include the inability to set crop marks or thin
spaces. Various third-party workaround utilities have been developed. Similarly,
combining diacritics are handled poorly: Word 2003 has "improved support", but many
diacritics are still misplaced, even if a precomposed glyph is present in the font. Word
2010 (Word 14) is the first version of MS Word that will have support for OpenType
Additionally, as of Word 2002, Word does automatic font substitution when it finds a
character in a document that does not exist in the font specified. It is impossible to
deactivate this, making it very difficult to spot when a glyph used is missing from the
font in use. Also irritating: If "Mirror margins" or "Different odd and even" are enabled,
Word will not allow you to freshly begin page numbering an even page after a section
break (and vice versa). Instead it inserts a mandatory blank page which can't be
In Word 2004 for Macintosh, complex scripts support was inferior even to Word 97, and
Word does not support Apple Advanced Typography features like ligatures or glyph
 Bullets and numbering
Users report that Word's bulleting and numbering system is highly problematic.
Particularly troublesome is Word's system for restarting numbering. However, the
Bullets and Numbering system has been significantly overhauled for Office 2007, which
is intended to reduce the severity of these problems. For example, Office 2007 cannot
align tabs for multi-leveled numbered lists, although this is a basic functionality in
OpenOffice.org. Often, items in a list will be inexplicably separated from their list
number by one to three tabs, rendering outlines unreadable. These problems cannot be
resolved even by expert users. Even basic dragging and dropping words is usually
impossible. Bullet and numbering problems in Word include: bullet characters are often
changed and altered, indentation is changed within the same list, and bullet point or
number sequence can belong to an entirely different nests within the same sequence.
 Creating tables
Users can also create tables in MS Word. Depending on the version, Word can perform
simple calculations. Formulae are supported as well.
 Using Formulae
As mentioned in Creating Tables, MS Word supports the use of formulas. To access
Word's formula function in Word 2007, click anywhere in a table, then choose Table
Tools>>Layout. To access Word's formula function in Word 2003, select
Table>>Formula. The formula function is on the ribbon in the Data section. Click on the
Formula icon to open the Formula Dialog box. At the top of the Formula box is a place to
enter a formula. Formulas use a similar convention as that used in Excel. Cell references
use the "A1" reference style. Formulas are written using cell references (for example
=A1+A2). The tricky part is identifying the cell address. Since Word tables don't
display column and row ids, the address must be determined by counting the number of
columns and rows. For example, cell C4 appears three columns from the left and four
rows down. Once cell addresses are known the formula can be written. Examples are:
=C3+C4; =sum(C2:C10). An optional Microsoft Word add-in program called Formula
Builder provides cell references in a number of different ways so the user doesn't have to
determine it by counting columns and rows. For example, cell references may be added to
a formula by double-clicking the cell.
As an alternative to using actual cell references as the arguments in the formula, you can
use ABOVE, BELOW, LEFT, or RIGHT instead (i.e., =SUM(ABOVE)) which adds a
range of cells.  There are limitations to this method. The cells in the range must not be
empty and they must contain numeric values otherwise the calculation will not include
the entire range expected. . Another problem is that ABOVE, BELOW, LEFT, or
RIGHT doesn't recognize negative numbers when the number is surrounded by
parenthesis and as a result does not calculate correctly. Word also adds the heading
row if it contains a numeric value provided the cells in the range are contiguous and all
AutoSummarize highlights passages or phrases that it considers valuable. The amount of
text to be retained can be specified by the user as a percentage of the current amount of
According to Ron Fein of the Word 97 team, Auto Summarize cuts wordy copy to the
bone by counting words and ranking sentences. First, AutoSummarize identifies the most
common words in the document (barring "a" and "the" and the like) and assigns a "score"
to each word—the more frequently a word is used, the higher the score. Then, it
"averages" each sentence by adding the scores of its words and dividing the sum by the
number of words in the sentence—the higher the average, the higher the rank of the
sentence. "It's like the ratio of wheat to chaff," explains Fein.
In Microsoft Office 2003, AutoCorrect items added by the user cease working when text
from sources outside the document are pasted in.
 Sub and superscript issues
In any of the Microsoft word packages, it is impossible to display superscript exactly
lying above subscript. It can only be done using the equation editor.
 Easter eggs
Many versions of Microsoft Word have Easter eggs.
Microsoft Word 5.5 for DOS
Versions for MS-DOS include the following:
1983 November — Word 1
1985 — Word 2
1986 — Word 3
1987 — Word 4 aka Microsoft Word 4.0 for the PC
1989 — Word 5
1991 — Word 5.1
1991 — Word 5.5
1993 — Word 6.0
Versions for the Macintosh (Mac OS and Mac OS X) include the following:
1985 January — Word 1 for the Macintosh
1987 — Word 3
1989 — Word 4
1991 — Word 5
1993 — Word 6
1998 — Word 98
2000 — Word 2001, the last version compatible with Mac OS 9
2001 — Word v.X, the first version for Mac OS X only
2004 — Word 2004, part of Office 2004 for Mac
2008 — Word 2008, part of Office 2008 for Mac
Microsoft Word 1.0 for Windows 3.x
Versions for Microsoft Windows include the following:
1989 November — Word for Windows 1.0 for Windows 2.x, code-named Opus
1990 March — Word for Windows 1.1 for Windows 3.0, code-named Bill the Cat
1990 June — Word for Windows 1.1a for Windows 3.1
1991 — Word for Windows 2.0, code-named Spaceman Spiff
1993 — Word for Windows 6.0, code-named T3 (renumbered 6 to bring
Windows version numbering in line with that of DOS version, Macintosh version
and also WordPerfect, the main competing word processor at the time; also a 32-
bit version for Windows NT only)
1995 — Word 95 (version 7.0) - included in Office 95
1997 — Word 97 (version 8.0) included in Office 97
1998 — Word 98 (version 8.5) only included in Office 97 Powered By Word
98—only released in Japan and Korea
1999 — Word 2000 (version 9.0) included in Office 2000
2001 — Word 2002 (version 10) included in Office XP
2003 — Word 2003 (officially "Microsoft Office Word 2003") - (ver. 11)
included in Office 2003
2006 — Word 2007 (officially "Microsoft Office Word 2007") - (ver. 12)
included in Office 2007; released to businesses on November 30, 2006, released
worldwide to consumers on January 30, 2007
Versions for SCO UNIX include the following:
Microsoft Word for UNIX Systems Release 5.1
Versions for OS/2 include the following:
1992 — Microsoft Word for OS/2 version 1.1B